Society & Culture

No chanting, threats outside black gay poet’s reading, participant says

By Guy Page

Two Vermont media outlets and all three of the state’s members of Congress are up in arms about a protest that happened outside a June 10 Lyndonville library reading by a gay, black poet Toussaint St. Negritude of Newark.

According to the initial report in the Caledonian-Record and and a follow-on story in VTDigger, the reading was cancelled midway by the library after the group began chanting his name. Then someone reportedly approached St. Negritude outside with her hand in a bag wanting to show him something. St. Negritude claimed he feared it was a gun. 

Last week, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Peter Welch and Rep. Becca Balint issued a joint statement condemning the ‘hate’ shown by the protesters. “It’s disturbing to see homophobia and racism loud and present here in Vermont,” the statement said. 

“Pretty much every word was a lie,” sidewalk demonstrator Kathleen Iselin told VDC this morning. 

“It [the Caledonian-Record] article was a tabloid article that had nothing to do with the truth,” she added.

Five people – members of the Bethel Anabaptist Tabernacle in Lyndon – stood on the sidewalk in complete silence, holding signs with Bible verses such as “Righteousness Exalteth A Nation.” No-one chanted St. Negritude’s name, she said. The only person who called out his name was Iselin herself – and that time, only once, to get his attention. 

As St. Negritude was calmly exiting the library with a friend, Iselin approached him (walking rapidly, she said) and called out his first name. 

All she had in her hands was a King James Bible, the only version BAT members read. She wanted to give it to him. Stopping 20 feet way, waiting for an opening in the conversation, she called out his name.

“He said, ‘No, thank you.’ They walked back into the library,” Iselin said. “I was filled with amazing love, beautiful love, and gently turned around and walked away.”

“I was carrying a Bible, and I wanted to give it to him,” Iselin repeated. “I’ve known Touissant for 10 years.” In fact, several years ago she literally risked her life to support him. 

Driving her car, she noticed that a state trooper had stopped St. Negritude, she said. Concerned that he might be a victim of profiling, she stopped and got out of her car and approached the trooper in his car, hoping to vouch for her acquaintance.

The state trooper was not pleased. He crouched behind the door of his cruiser and said, ‘Stop where you are and let me see your hands,’ Iselin recalled. Without intending to, “I kind of risked my life.” 

This isn’t the church’s first encounter with criticism for its sidewalk proclamations. Like most spiritual descendents of the 16th century Protestant Anabaptists (from which the Amish and Mennonites, and Plymouth Brethren derived), BAT believes in publicly proclaiming the actual words of the Bible. In 2010, a church member was prohibited from speaking on Church Street in Burlington. The church has had a sidewalk presence in Lyndonville, sometimes to the displeasure of others. Their right to speak in public has been upheld by courts and local officials.  

Strangely enough Iselin encountered St. Negritude a short while later at the Thrift Store. The encounter was unplanned. The poet was buying a lamp and Isselin was treating herself to some ‘new’ clothes (“Almost all my clothing comes from there”).

Surprised, she once again tried to give him a Bible. This time he responded more forcefully with a ‘stay away from me’ response. 

Iselin was dumbfounded at the quick, overpowering media and political response to the initial story in the Caledonian-Record. “I think people crafted this article with him and for him,” she said. “I think there may be some kind of organized group that is funding and pushing every brand of homosexuality as part of an assault on the traditional family. It’s come on like a tsunami in this nation. It’s the takedown of the nation, but it’s also God’s judgement.”

Iselin is firm on speaking biblical truth about homosexuality – from a place of love, not condemnation.

“I feel love and forgiveness for these people,” she said. “They are so lost.” 

There are billions of souls out there that are going to hell,” Iselin added. “I can’t stand it. This is simply an invitation to folks, to deeply consider the word of God, and choose to turn to God out of their own free will.”

The joint statement from the three members of Congress reads:

“Hate should have no place in Vermont. It’s disturbing to see homophobia and racism loud and present here in Vermont. Extremism and hate must be answered. We cannot allow it to take root in darkness or hope it will disappear if we ignore it. We affirm, loudly and with pride, our commitment to an equitable, welcoming, inclusive Vermont. 

“As this incident sadly reminds us, Vermont is not immune from the challenges of our time. But we have also seen and lived the best of Vermont, one that is welcoming and courageous. In a healthy democracy we should embrace diversity, not protest it, and try to shut it down. That is the Vermont we must all continue to strive for, with courage, kindness, and an unceasing belief in community.”

The contacts listed in the email from Balint’s office were:,, and

Categories: Society & Culture

13 replies »

  1. Kind of like the NYT, they use a ” anonymous ” source to write an article out of whole cloth that supports the liberal narrative. God forbid Bernie should check the reliability of the article before condemning it.

  2. “I feel love and forgiveness for these people,” she said. “They are so lost.”

    A simple statement, yet so true.

  3. Another SET UP.

    If the left can’t, as of quite yet, remove your right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, then they shall harass and harangue and intimidate you into not wanting to avail yourself of your Constitutional rights.

    Target is/was doing the same – claiming that the religious who assembled to peacefully protest in front of their stores regarding LGBTQCRAZY children’s wear were threatening & assaulting employees, hence they had no alternative but to pull the clothing line. They pulled the line, IN FACT, because they lost billions of dollars in revenue.

    This tactics are all straight outta “Rules For Radicals” with a heaping ‘o Orwell’s “1984” thrown in for good measure.

    And by the way, Ms. Iselin – these people are NOT “lost” – they know PRECISELY what they do. And Balint is one of their lead goons.

  4. I do not understand the need to over describe this event. Why isn’t it just called a poetry reading. Why is there a need to describe race and sexual persuasion. If I do a poetry reading will it be a “White prefers missionary position poetry reading”?

    • Asked myself that type of question decades ago when these fanatics demanded to dress like lunatics and carry banners attesting to their sexual preferences & perversions during events such as the NYC St Patrick’s Day Parade.

      It was once a day for all to enjoy Irish heritage regardless of one’s personal ancestry or DNA — not to shout your sexual proclivities for all to hear.

      These events are all contrived and meant to push the envelope to see just exactly how Americans react to having all their civil rights taken from them.

      And if all of America were comprised of democrats, progressives, and socialist democrats (i.e.: Communists) I’d have to admit that the majority of that demographic doesn’t appear to care at all.

    • John, I’m also fed up. I determined that I’m going to start asking that I be introduced in a way that emphasizes the injustice I faced as “neurodiverse”. In actual fact, it really did damage my life.

  5. I am glad to see the exposure of the exaggeration of the main stream media in reporting on the event. I suspect if you don’t have a crisis, create one is a line from the Woke agenda’s prompts. Thank you, Kathleen, for standing up and being a voice of love even under fire.

    WWJD – What Would Jesus Do? When Peter was a bit exuberant in trying to defend Jesus and cut off the ear of the soldier that was arresting the Lord. Jesus picked up the ear and healed the soldier’s ear.

    Yes, people who don’t appreciate their need for the Bible are wandering in stances that are devoid of knowing about the great love of His kingdom – the kind that includes healings as well as a calm inner assurance that God’s love walks with them. So, some may not be ready for a Bible, how about as a starting point. It’s a hey, God, if you really are real and want a personal relationship with me – I’m willing to try talking/praying with you. You can take it from there. Eventually you may want to learn more about Jesus – the book of John in the Bible is a good starting point – you can find it at or check out the Jesus Film that is found at

    • Thanks, Martha! Yes, this whole incident, is an invitation for folks to have a serious look at God’s word, the bible…and before strongly dismissing it, read it, study it, know it….It seems that God is extending His hand to folks at this time….I pray that He will work in people’s hearts to go directly to Him about this, and not just join in the usual mob, emotional reaction. Thanks for providing a resource for people to go to, as it’s very rare these days, to find a good one!

  6. They are called TOKEN, like the kid on South Park. It is sad they have to hire a house N**** to target guns and anti GOD behavior (you know sin) that quite honestly is in my world a nobody so basically, I don’t care. Don’t care that there was an event , don’t care that this was sponsored by the dems and progressives. Don’t, as a black man, CARE that this person was dumb enough to think that they would be, how should I say , unmolested, here in Vermont. Silly Silly. How do you like being a tool, a cat’s paw for the left? Is their mission accomplished.

    I, as a man of GOD, did not hear of this event, nor would I have promoted it or denounced it. I would and do refuse to spend anymore than this for energy on this so apparent attempt by the left to “start something”. And as always they use their poster children, you know, those they feel deep inside are so far beneath them, they do this kind of garbage to THEM, not themselves, just like cannon fodder. How sad that this person was not smart enough to participate, to be that TOKEN that the left wanted you to be, and if you got hurt, well all the better. Now you are a martyr for the cause. Don’t you feel so special for that. Now you are noticed because you are just so special.

    I do not condone violence, most times it is by the left and is targeted to just rile people up. God will be your judge not I or others that see this and your life and behavior as a sinful mess. God Bless and forgive you.

  7. Leave it to liberal media and our installed representatives to whip up a nothing burger into inflammed hatred and intolerance. If one were to research the origins of the man’s name (Saint?), it seems if he were a man devoted to ridding the world of white, religous, colonial supremecy, he would change his name. Yet, he has kept his French colonial name and appears to be making a decent living anyway. He declined the gesture and went about his business unimpeded apparently. Why does he live in fear? Is he not a man secure in his beliefs and able to cope with the ying and yang of the universe? If he doesn’t read the Bible, perhaps he could read Eckhart Tolle to gain calmness and be at peace within this upside down world.